I just realized
that Ugh many times over
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Filtering by Category: Poetry
I just realized
that Ugh many times over
There's this pale blue in the sky
and the groundhog
eating and me
swimming and the watersnake
in his hole in the rocks
And me having just
needing to swim off my eating;
and the Silence
and the September
This is a poem from a month ago, when I was down in Santiago, Chile. What I was quite amazed by was the fact that there were tons of generous, ripe fruit trees producing lemons, oranges, pomegranates etc, even though it is for them the dead of winter. And what fruit! Ah if only I could say the same of my own yard...
~ ~ ~
There’s a hummingbird outside
my window in the
rose tree which is next to
the orange tree
which is full of ripe oranges.
There is no need to whittle
away this reality.
I think I’ll take it fully conscious, fully
with my self.
Walking home with a bag
of eggs a dog barked
from behind a wall
and then all of a sudden
I had gilded boots
on the sidewalk
and no eggs.
Stop always striving to do
something useful. Think
of the pricker bush
just standing there
to be prickly.
the things we don’t
There are three parrots in the pomegranate
tree in the neighbor’s
yard, the neighbor with the many chimneys,
next to our yard with its full orange bower and annoying cat.
Three parrots like green livers
in pomegranates oranged with morning sun.
Or are they peaches?
Too far to tell.
Because there’s nothing else to do.
Because my brain is a horse
and needs regular walking or else
it overheats, dies.
Words are sponges, blue and holey,
neat swiveled foams
that come to mop my brain cool
and when they’re done they have
its heat, its juice, its steam and stench of manure,
and they heap
on tables and shelves—
so many swabs of thought
in some Lab of the Perplexities of Girlhood.
Someday, maybe, they’ll be examined.
Someday, perhaps, explained.
In a snuck-up rush and
with a pitted heart I
scurried out the house, and left
them an I ❤️ NY chocolate bar
and a clogged toilet.
I forgot to pick an orange!
I forgot to pick an orange on my
way out of the gate
as I left Chile for Chestnut Ridge.
Cha cha ch—
and no naranja for my crossing.
Lista, we are all long lista
to go go go to our seats-
14F. F by the window, F over the wing,
eff you, F this back ache and long wait.
Something new: bring me something new,
lots of people to know and something to do.
Solo travel, lull lull lull.
An Argentinian boy next to me on the plane is wearing a designer hoodie, oversize baseball cap, intentionally shredded black jeans. He looks about 11 years old. He looks sort of Coptic, as in the coptic Egyptian mummy portraits in gallery 138 of the Met. He has large round deep dull eyes and stares indifferently ahead. The aircraft begins to taxi to take off and in a flash he, too, whirrs into motion— and crosses himself.
Boringness, there is so much boringness
before me: such hours and hours
(sixteen of them to be precise)
of burst-bubble blandness. What
will go by in this head?
Oh dear, what will I do, the boy next to me fell asleep now and no longer prays for us. I am idle, all idleness and a spoon. Stir me around! Dip me in the divine, for I want to pray too! I want so bad to be part of a tradition and to believe, but I always feel an imposter, a pretender, genuflecting for a genie of my chilly silly child head. Go to bed now.
We are high enough now to see
the clouds like a sea,
and I see
them roll against the Andes in rumpled waves,
white and spumy and
spilled on by cool twilight light. Not golden,
but blue. Silver,
silver like swells on the sea.
And now the boredom comes, and
the blandness sets in, and
I bake, I bubble, I break.
I was the only one who knew they walked into their tomb
and yet I kept sitting there too.
Me in mine and they in theirs and
still I lingered.
Hard to defy death when it means giving up a soft seat.
A seat smack on the bulge of our demise,
on the hot red
smelly hump of a-moment’s-away combustion,
but I stayed through many bus door snapping shuts
and menacing accelerations,
A baby cried.
But somehow the
tomb declined to
yawn just then
and we stepped alive into the night when it was practical
to do so and breathed the air at our stop.
Then a car almost hit us, and I was
the only one to know, but
at least I'm here still to say so.
There were two dead raccoons on
the road where I walk.
One was very fresh
hit last night, perhaps.
It terrified me
stepping over it.
Scared that that eye
might open and I’d have to do something about
a half life teetering on the brink,
and the shoulder of Rt. 45
for maybe many taut hours already.
that eye might twitch
and I’d fall flat in the road and be
run over too,
roadkilled on the way to coffee?
After all our petitioning there are still no sidewalks.
My god, starting so early.
At 19 already living a barnacled writing life?
the more years I can
squeeze out of writing, the more
exultant will be my dying self
somewhere far down the road, I hope.
But hush, hush, I can’t
write about writing until
I’ve really done it—
somewhere not far down the road, I hope.
And now you’ve shocked yourself
with a whiff.
Everything’s out there and out
there and out there
I’m not out there,
I’m not public,
I’m not fast.
why, why, why
am I how I am?
I think we should all
live on farms.
With at little bit of salt
and much moments of
I managed to
this parcel of a poem.
People always call works of art “pieces…”
Are they really so fragmented?
I’d like to make something whole
chase the last salty
drop from my cheek,
more than partially alive.
Not teetering on a brink,
not roadkill, no
not I, not I.
My nostrils trap
the scent of coffee
as it slithers thickly back across the glimpsed full-moon
bottom of the cup
that I draw from my lips
and place on its whitey saucer
that shines in the diffuse cloud light. I’m at a terrace table.
And I am wearing
a creamy white sweater
like a blob
and my hair is how it is when I wake
in the morning, in a poof,
and my face is round
and it is mine
and my head is mine
and my hands are mine
and my knees are mine
and my shoes are mine- dear boots!-
on feet that are mine
and I am all just
feeling like me
And I am head to toe
You were weaving too many ideas together,
a dangerous thing at best
stitching together impossible hopes
like a pearl embroiderer
embroidering pearls on the dock where your heart
was shipped overseas.
On its way it got lost
dropped somehow, silent,
and the seagulls saw
it, they were the only ones,
and ate it like a clam.
Packaged and lost in the span of two days,
where does that leave you?
On the playroom table.
We played doctor when we were young, faking
C sections and craniotomy.
You’re just a soft white mouse,
the Christmas toy always left out of the game
and the brother crying above.
You always knew you were heartless
towards yourself, chest empty—
embroidering spangled droplets of your blood
over the sea like
foam on my ebbing hope.
11 pm is the hour of the poems
when something brilliant thumps
against my skull
a winged creature
passing by night
snagged in my cavewoman hair.
If I’m asleep,
with his freedom.
I pick him shred by shred
from off my head
and hope I can
Cooking for a special new
stomach is a measure of protection
Like a best friend
who just got a haircut
looking a little new way
going a little away
and a brother already gone there
to the land of Indigo cooking
where I went and ate churros.
Three places, one peace
piecing together the wonky
people we’ll become-
fathers and mothers
cooking someday for really
in an indigo kitchen,
eardrums pressed to the dawn.
A cherub baby
ran around the room.
we thought it was cupid
but she was a girl
Her mom was semi pshycho
talking on the phone
about her husband
and repeating the story many times,
always the same words.
The art cafe was quiet otherwise
and cupid kept on running.
sorry if you're reading this Hailey’s mom
but you didn't make it any secret.
i’m tired, you see, and we
none of us
speak sweet sans sleep.
Forget the iPhone Photo Journal! This month I look back through poetry...
A torpor trundles along in this bus
a kneeling bus they call it
perhaps like me
at least to the shuddering of it’s onslaught,
the exhaust and dirty buildings and billboards-
that lullaby of the highway.
Submitting perhaps like me
to the desire to achieve remarkableness
through vast ordinariness— to be intensely normal.
Baggy clothes, slouchy hair
and dirty door stoops.
Do you think I can?
What a shame then to have this opportunity-
the grand chance that is human existence-
gone to lethargy
and an ape.
days amount to squat
when you're living between plane tickets
and the kneeling bus.
I am no more destined
for a public life than Emily Dickinson—
and that’s about where the parallels end.
Sherry eyes and nightgowns on the stairs,
I am wishful of such prolificness!
Licking a creamy envelope
and tucking it in a winter mailbox to chill.
would I were so steady
or sure. Were you?
I don’t know yet what moves me
or how to un-kneel
unfold these legs
and rub my pimply knees.
I'd like to go
for a walk.
I want to
and tell me I don't lack passion.
There are soap suds
in the escarole tonight
and there are dishes of things to be thought tonight.
It is amazing what we are shown
by one keyhole glimpse of humanhood!
Standing at the sink
elbow deep in soap suds and the smell
of the burnt bottom of the pan
my hands are made like paper-
scratchy, meant to carry words
and dishes, perhaps, on nights like this.
I feel and am felt. I think this will last.
I’m germinating a pervasive, precious knowing
and this will be me in a forever sort of way.
On some days I'm a crystalline capitulation of myself
And then even passing below a telephone wire is inspiring, an epiphany.
I'm just a wart of me
Stagnating on the tip of a cosmic toe
Somewhere far from the blood stream of life.
Then I don't see the telephone wire,
I'm in a shoe.
It is still dark this morning when we leave the house for Hook Mountain. I am only half awake, feeling drowsy and a bit like a wilted tea leaf in last night's drained mug that's still on my dresser. Today is Sunday- Easter Sunday no less- but this morning there's no limitless lounging twixt the sheets, no slow, easy emulsion of coffee and undisrupted reading. This morning I am climbing the “Hook” to watch the sun rise over the Hudson River— with my family, close friends, and a backpack full of breakfast.
As I walk the sky lightens and I am impressed by the bland, brown beauty of this Hudson Valley terrain I live in. I am quiet, running words through my head with a pattern that I step, a verse—
Is writing as she walks.
Is she then a writing walker?
Stomping a search for synonyms. Not cinnamon. That’s already in the cupboard.
Did you know “rust” is a synonym for cinnamon?
and singalong are not
synonyms for cinnamon, even when sung along
Now there’s a way to warp a word--
sent from a word-warping writing, walking walker-writer
with greetings too.
We reach the peak of the Hook, a tall, bald lookout on the west bank of the Hudson. The river is wide and a dull, wrinkled grey; reflective of the overcast sky that is shrouding our treasured sunrise. Oh well: a narrow strip of pink is all we’re graced with, just a glimpse of dawn “spread out against the sky / like a patient etherized upon a table,” as T.S. Eliot would elegantly put it— or, as I might paint the image, like the slimy orange slabs of smoked salmon whose unique odor drove me from the kitchen as a child vegetarian, holding my nose.
Breakfast is eaten alfresco and the hike is reversed. Back home by ten, we rally to prepare an extravagant lunch (soups and grilled veggies and quiches, oh my!), host a humbly extravagant (if such a paradox can be tolerated) lunch party, and decorate eggs in the ancient Ukrainian Easter tradition (which is to say playing with fire, melted wax, raw eggs and lots of pretty plant dyes)!
When the party is over and the creative stores exhausted, we all begin to feel the toll of our early start. The remedy to drowsy afternoon hours? A power nap… and writing another little poem :)
and my mind glides like mud
into a nap
that obscures the precious smolder of evening
and clears only after
the sun has set.
Sleep stole from me those ruddy, gilded hours
so glorious through the trees,
but got me a snatch of rest instead
and a dream almost
So you see, on this lovely day of March 27, 2016, this mild Easter Sunday, I was robbed both of sunrise and sunset: one obscured by stratocumulus fog, the other by my leaden lids. What I did see of this day, though, far made up for the solar splendors I missed, and was peaceful, luxuriant, and- in our own haphazard, familial way- gleefully, wistfully sacred.
Some days I want to live life for a century, or until I'm 104 years old.
Others, only enough to know that I've seen it.
Earth is a porcupine I hug,
and prickles my tummy
and my arms.
I am currently sitting on a plane suspended somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, headed from NY to Paris, again. Having returned home from Paris not even four days ago, this morning I was still figuring out what to post here about my homecoming when… I found out I was shipping off to Paris again this evening! So, rather than write about home, I will write about the next best thing— the thing that seems to have become my home in the past few months: an airplane. Well, no one can accuse me of being a couch potato in this year off of mine! (Although I probably qualify as an airplane potato and that can't be much better?)
Anyway, here are my current musings on aircraft residency, in a form spun off of Wallace Stevens’ famed poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird:
29 times faster than steamship.
Can we meet for coffee tomorrow?
Quite a valid question. Let's wait till tomorrow morning, and by then I’ll probably know whether I'm flying anywhere that day.
Portal to opportunity.
Portal to death.
five layers of atmosphere,
one orbiting moon,
one constant shell of metal travel, teeming somewhere in the middle.
Maybe closer to heaven
But mostly feels like hell
French taxi strikes surrounded the airport and did not let my Uber through. This is why I left early. To find another path to that airplane.
It was night and it was day. Apollo inverted, I chased the sunrise across the globe, hungry for that thin band of gold
just a little faster
than I did.
An old man with his dentures out has a row to himself in the Priority Cabin. He’s slowly leafing through his passport as if it were Crime and Punishment. Perhaps it is. His mouth’s a sunken cavern, like my grandma’s when I used to put her to bed.
Landing on a tiny strip on the island of Tortolla after a short and choppy ride, everyone clapped and I was swarmed with amazement. My first plane ride.
The number of contorted positions I’ve improvised in my aisle seat could get me a yoga-teaching certification. It couldn't get me to sleep, though.
I rented a place among the stars for an evening.
Between one of these settlings in and the next, I was celestially unsettled, and I woke to a different shining.
A doze, a bad smell, a shudder, and we open eyes now on other lands.
A waiting clod of dirt in snow,
the kiss of tea on expectant lips,
the anticipation of generations infini
spawns hollow human neediness
The deadly dream fell away
for a moment here
grinning broadly at the wall
I was normal
for a moment here
fell back into slots on either side
of what appeared to me the
horizon of human consciousness.
On one miscarriage of the wind
blew the chaff of the creation seed
carried by a firefly and emptied
to spawn a race of slow beasts in the mud.
Sun beat down on them and
and its falling firedrops
beaded on their eyelashes,
its scorching waves of age-old breath tickled
their mangy chests,
its rising and its setting
twixt four beech-gold horizons,
kindled in their furnace-breasts
a bellowing joy that fit
their ancient, shivering dreams.
Sun-loving, they knew much more than we.
Now the sun dies on the rocky horizon
not lingering but fading, fading,
till it no longer washes this melt-stained planet face
I want to shatter the leagues
of distance that stretch between here and the stars,
and stroke the warm orbs that bless our birth
and kiss the twinkling benevolent eyes
that survey our souls in death.
It is Christmas Day and we have just finished the gigantic Christmas dinner that my mom and I spent two days cooking. And right now I’m feeling that familiar post-party feeling, the aftermath-of-the-feast feeling... the food coma. You must know it: symptoms include a straining sensation in the abdomen like a helium balloon ready to burst, the desire to slice your stomach open and dribble away to a puddle of nothingness? Yes, that’s what I’m experiencing now…all summed up into this short little poem I wrote, a spin off of William Carlos Williams’ iconic This is Just to Say:
This is just to say
I don’t think I’ll ever
touch food again
cause hunger is delicious
and so cold
and nourishment is cloying.